The Member of Parliament for Serrekunada, Honorable Halifa Sallah has mentioned that the deputy speaker of the National Assembly’s statement on his (Honorable Sallah) motion on the draft constitution was out of the parliament jurisdiction.
Speaking at a news conference held at PDOIS Bureau in Churchill’s Town on Wednesday evening he said: “When I introduced that motion the Speaker ruled it that I have not proven urgency. But what is more fundamental to me is that at the end of the ruling the Speaker (went) straight into a matter that is purely for the Judiciary and not for parliament.”
The Gambia’s Promulgation Bill was sent to The National Assembly in September 2020 for the promulgation to start. That requires its submission for first and second readings to debate the merit. But the Bill was rejected by minority of the parliament leading a severe block of 2020 constitutional process.
However, 14th December, Honorable Sallah tabled a motion in the assembly seeking its reintroduction but it was rejected by the deputy speaker, who said “the bill is dead.”
Honorable Sallah told journalists that the funny thing is that after the Speaker said the Constitution is dead, he (deputy Speaker) is saying it can be reintroduced.
“Something that is dead you bring life to it and reintroduce it again by Cabinet or members of the Parliament. This is the second coming of a Constitution,” he said.
He stated that section 101 of the Constitution or Standing Order 62 states “A Bill may be introduced by the President, Vice President, a minister or a member of the National Assembly.”
He added that there is no statement that talks about reintroduction and maintained that: “Wherever you reintroduce something then it is not dead.”
He said the Constitution is regarded dead, he now recognized that the Parliament’s decision in September to vote against the Promulgation Bill had killed the Draft Constitution. He added that “since it is dead if you want to bring another Bill that deals with a Constitution you must go through the same process as determine by Section 226 of the Constitution.”
He went on that Bill must be published in the gazette for three months and a second publication for nothing less than ten days before its introduction into the National Assembly.
Honorable Sallah said with all pieces of advice government gained from international delegates, there is nothing government can do to succeed in the constitutional process apart from his proposal for the reintroduction of the Draft Constitution which the Speaker rejected so far or else government introduces another Bill of the Constitution of The Gambia Promulgation Bill.
He noted that if government introduces another Bill the process would take much time and however, express concern whether there is guarantee for government to get three-quarters of the Parliament to pass the Bill for referendum.